EASTER SUNDAY – 4TH APRIL 2021
Fr David’s Message for the Week
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
In the Catholic liturgy for mass there used to be no opportunities for hymn singing. Instead, the sung parts of the Liturgy – Kyrie’s, Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus were augmented by ‘antiphons’ from which the English word ‘anthem’ comes. These anthems were almost always scriptural and were inserted at the entrance, before the Gospel, at the offertory and communion. Often they were set to complex and sometimes very beautiful plainchant melodies. Over the centuries the Church built up a huge repository of these antiphons and graduals (so called because the Deacon would be ascending the steps to the Ambo to proclaim the Gospel while it was sung. Gradus is Latin for steps or stairs).
When the liturgy began to be celebrated in the vernacular it seemed natural to look for suitable music to sing in these same places and so we have hymns, many imported from other Christian traditions and many of them very fine indeed, which are inserted where these antiphons would have been. We in the Catholic Church have some way to go before we really build up a tradition of good hymns of our own though – so we more often than not borrow.
In the 17th century a minister of the Church of England penned one of the loveliest hymns I know for Passiontide and one whose first verse I would like to share with you. I know you know it already, but have you really thought about it deeply?
The first verse goes:
My song is love unknown,
my saviour’s love for me;
love to the loveless shown
that they might lovely be:
but who am I, that for my sake
my Lord should take frail flesh and die?
For me this sums up in one verse the entire mystery of the cross and of the passion of Jesus Christ. It is all about this “love unknown” – a love, that is, that is most rare to find, or even impossible to find amongst we human beings. A pure, complete love that knows no bounds – meaning points to which it begins and stops according to the person who is loved. That is, it is not predicated on the loveliness, or love-ableness of the one who is loved. It is ‘My Saviour’s love for me’ which is to say that it is at once personal and also universal. It is love for me, but also love for you. We are all God’s only child! But why this generous, overflowing love for us? What have we done to deserve it? Nothing! It is simply ‘love to the loveless shown that they might lovely be’. This, for me is the absolute heart of this extraordinary verse. We are loveless in so many of our ways – especially when taken as a whole but this pure love of God is His gift that we might ‘lovely be’. Such tenderness and compassion. Such generosity. This generosity is shown not just that we are loved that we might lovely be but that to bring this about our Lord ‘should take frail flesh and die.’ Extraordinary when we think about it.
The last verse expresses this so beautifully:
Here might I stay and sing
no story so Divine;
never was love, dear King,
never was grief like Thine!
This is my friend in whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.
This is why we are Christians so that we can spend all our days in praise of our friend King and God.
God bless you all and Happy Easter.
Baptism Meeting – Thursday 15th April 7pm via Zoom
If you, or someone you know, is interested to join the Parish Zoom meeting discussing Baptism for their child, please direct them to the Parish Website. https://www.cpcb.org.uk/sacraments/baptism/
There is lots of useful information here along with the applications to request Baptism.
If you would like to join the Baptism Course zoom session please register here https://www.cpcb.org.uk/events-and-courses/
Diocesan Fairtrade Group
The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton is a Fairtrade Diocese – 50% of our churches are certificated as meeting the Fairtrade Foundation’s criteria for Fairtrade churches and agree to use products with the FAIRTRADE mark. The A&B Fairtrade Group ensures that goals continue to be met and aims to raise awareness about Fairtrade labelled products – including those sold by Traidcraft – which support fair terms of trade, decent working conditions and local sustainability for farmers and producers in the developing world. The Group needs more members from across the Diocese and would welcome enquiries from interested people. The Group meets three times a year. Please contact Sue Joy, Convenor. email: SusanJoy471@hotmail.com 01342 835190. Thank you.
ACN Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Nov 2021
This 9 day pilgrimage will visit significant Holy sites, ACN projects, and offer the chance to meet with local Church leaders and Christian families. The pilgrimage will be led by Father Dominic Robinson SJ, ACN UK’s National Ecclesiastical Assistant and Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of ACN UK. For more information, see: https://acnuk.org/event/aid-to-the-church-in-needs-pilgrimage-to-the-holy-land-2021/ To book, please contact Pax Travel who are handling bookings on behalf of ACN: Tel: 07787346099 or Tel: 07825992733 or by emailing email@example.com. This pilgrimage is subject to travel being permitted, following government COVID-19 guidelines.